NEW YORK – The MTA is closing the main entrance to the Whitehall St.-South Ferry subway station Monday – and it will remain that way for nine months as part of the “Fix & Fortify” program, officials announced.
The move is part of a $193.8 million rehabilitation plan to repair lasting damage from Superstorm Sandy. The devastating October 2012 storm flooded the station with 15 million gallons of salt water mixed with sewage and debris — completely filling the 80-foot structure and causing extensive damage.
The sheets of plywood affixed to the station entrances before the storm were no match for the surging floodwater, and the MTA has already begun making the station as sealable as possible. Temporary, watertight panels at the entrances will soon be replaced with permanent watertight doors. The MTA is also working to shore up vents, manholes and hatches. Watertight doors will be installed on critical rooms.
Large, inflatable barriers have also been created to keep water from passing through the tunnels from one station to the next.
The ongoing MTA project is designed to prevent future leaks as well as replace track, mechanical, electrical, signal and communications equipment, as well as ceiling and wall panels.
Riders can still use the station, but have to enter through the Staten Island Ferry terminal building or the Whitehall Street entrance.
The MTA issued the following statement on the program:
The MTA’s restoration of the new South Ferry station is part of an overall effort to make Lower Manhattan’s mass transit system far less vulnerable to weather events and rising tides. We regret the inconvenience this work may cause and appreciate our customers’ patience while we complete these important projects. To ensure that our customers are well-informed of these staircase closures, appropriate signage will be posted throughout the station. Service notices will also be posted on our website, www.mta.info.